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Ten years ago today Jennie and I were married! It is exciting to have reached this milestone and have spent a decade together. I really can’t believe she married me in the first place, and the spell hasn’t worn off a bit. In fact, my love for her has only grown as I have watched her become more and more the woman Jesus wants her to be.

In the book of Genesis there is a man named Jacob who had to wait and work for seven years before he could marry Rachel, the woman of his dreams, but he didn’t mind. The seven years seemed as only a few days to him because of the love he had for her. When you love someone the things you do for them are a joy not a sacrifice. I can’t help but relate as I think back on these ten years. Time has passed quickly, difficult things have been diluted and joy has been enhanced by her presence in my life.

Not that it’s been easy. Uprooting from the city and pioneering a multi-site church in rural America, a demanding schedule of outreach events, an allergy to complacency and having four kids along the way has kept our calendar packed and our life wild. Friction and conflict are frequent realities. Jennie and I have a great marriage today, but it’s not by accident and it didn’t happen on it’s own. We have worked hard and fought for it. We have invested in our friendship, cultivated it and as a result we get to enjoy the fruit.

On the one year anniversary of Lenya going to Heaven Jennie and I were standing in the cemetery holding each other and Alivia took a photo of the two of us. When I looked at it later it hit me that this is not what anyone has in mind when they dream about marriage. You usually think about all your plans for the future coming to pass. Thats why looks, chemistry, money, and things you have in common, are ranked so highly.

There’s nothing wrong with any of those things of course, but how will they be when life goes worse instead of better? I know that back when we were dating I never pictured us shedding tears over the grave of a child together. I pictured us kissing on the top of the Empire State Building and preaching the gospel ’til our last breath, our kids beside us like little arrows.

The highest praise I can give to Jennie is that it has been an honor to suffer with her. It’s not the good times that show what is really inside, it takes pain filled moments to reveal character, and she has suffered magnificently. As it turns out our dreams and nightmares have come to pass together. We have kissed 102 floors above the twinkling lights of Manhattan, done ministry across the country together AND cried until we ran out of tears when one of our little arrows flew unexpectedly to heaven. In it all it has been a privilege to do so as the husband of Mrs. Jennie Lusko. There is no one I would want to hurt with, laugh with, scheme with, cry with, trail-blaze with, hold onto hope with or get old with more than her.

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Apr 7th, 2014

Then and Now

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This weekend we visited our newest fresh life campus in Bozeman, Montana. It is amazing to see what Jesus is doing in that city. We have had a packed house and a growing church since day one, and people are coming to know Christ each week. The city is also very near to our hearts as a family because a month before Lenya went to heaven we traveled there for a skull church event in the city. It was the last time we went on a ministry trip together as a family of six.

Whenever we return to the city there are Lenya memories everywhere. Naturally there is some sadness, but overwhelmingly it is a very happy place for me. It was sixteen months ago that we were there with her but standing in the candy store where she had picked up a giant lollipop or the restaurant where she got a temporary tattoo of a bacon-and-egg skull and cross bones brings memories of her flooding back like they were yesterday.

It is crazy how much Lenya’s sisters have grown. Clover was just a baby back then. Daisy was the age Clover is now. And Alivia is shooting up like she’s made of bamboo. The empty space where Lenya would be in the “now” photo makes me wonder what she would look like today at six and-a-half. How tall she would be? Would she be gaining on Liv? And then I wonder what she is like in Heaven. The Bible says, “It is not yet revealed what we will be,” but this I do know for sure,“when we see Him we will be like Him.” (1 John 3:2) So I will have to keep using my imagination until that day.

As I look at these two pictures, from then and now, it occurs to me that when you take a photo you never know what life will look like a year later. That is why it is so important to not take anything for granted. Savor the little things. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life must be intentionally cherished as it races by. You won’t find time for what matters most. You must make time.

Posted in Lenya Lion | 6 Comments »

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We are coming your way this May! We will be starting in Dallas and making our way to Denver with four O2 Experience events. We are partnering with some amazing churches and are praying for God to do some MAJOR things! If you would like more info, would like to request promo materials, or your church would like to participate in any of these events click here.

Posted in O2 Experience | 2 Comments »

Mar 25th, 2014

We’re going to England

This summer we are crossing the pond for a two-night Skull Church event and an O2 Experience in the United Kingdom. We have never done either one  outside of the United States and we are  fired up to be heading to Great Britain for our inaugural international outing! Skull Church will be taking place June 28 and 29 in York and the O2 Experience on July 1 in Hastings. Please keep these events in prayer, they will be here before you know it!

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Posted in O2 Experience, skull church | 1 Comment »

Mar 5th, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

The only way to get to victory is to be willing to fail on the way there. True overnight successes are rare. Far more often you have people who kept showing up day in and day out until the hard, unglamorous work added up and paid off. It’s easy to misunderstand what you are seeing when you look at people who are taking a victory lap or receiving attention or promotion. What is happening there in that moment is only the tip of the iceberg. Invisible to your eye is what’s under water —the hell they went through on the road to success.

I recently read a story in the news about Kristen Anderson-Lopez that was powerful. She (along with her husband) wrote the song “Let it Go” from Disney’s “Frozen.” As the father of four daughters there are very few Disney princess movies I haven’t seen, and like many of you, we have not only seen this film multiple times but we own the soundtrack as well. (And no, I would not like to build a snowman.) The song “Let it Go” is not just a great song, it is literally the best. It won an Oscar for the best song in a motion picture. It was so good that it changed the course of the movie. Apparently Elsa, a character in the movie who freezes everything, was originally going to stay evil, but when they heard “Let it Go”, the song caused them to rewrite everything so Elsa could sing it and be redeemed.

That’s powerful in and of itself, but the best part of the the article was where it said that Kristen also wrote 17 songs that weren’t included in the movie. SEVENTEEN times her songs weren’t right. SEVENTEEN times she heard “no.” Most of us would consider ourselves a colossal failure to be shut down five or six times. It would be difficult to keep pressing full steam ahead after being rejected a dozen times. But she continued writing and creating and inventing and putting herself out there SEVENTEEN times. Let that sink in. Songs #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,15, 16, and 17 weren’t good enough for the movie. Attempt number 18 was a different story. This time the movie, as it was currently written, wasn’t good enough for the song.

The point is, to envy someone’s success is to completely misunderstand the nature of it. To covet the limelight and the accolades is to focus on the wrong thing. Yes, there are those who are given every advantage and people who are raised with a silver spoon in their mouth, but far more often the recipe for success is simple and unpleasant. You persevere through difficulty, bad ideas, bad days and bitterness again and again and again until something clicks. It’s not sexy, but it’s true. What you were willing to do in secret is responsible, so often, for what happens in public. It would be nice to crank out a hit on your first attempt, but those unlucky enough to do so often end up unable to replicate their accidental success. Far better to be ok with writing some duds and be able to just keep swimming.

1 Chronicles 28:10 “…be strong and do the work.”

Posted in raw thoughts | 2 Comments »

 
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